Wanda and Pete's Letterboxes - Idaho & Montana


Index to Our Other Letterboxes


BEFORE YOU SET OUT, PLEASE READ THE WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER..


124. CAMPING IN IDAHO A drive-by on a scenic highway in Idaho with literally hundreds of camping spots along it!

Retired 2011

We were sort of in a hurry to plant this little box at night on our way into the mountains of Idaho recently (Sept 2005). Pete had carved a reverse image of the EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) logo of camping out by moonlight, so we thought we'd plant it out in some western mountains. Little did we know that we'd have so many great camping spots to choose from! We picked a rather non-descript site just about halfway between mile 86 and 87 on the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Highway, thinking that this could become a kind of "Beldin Box" with other letterboxers moving it to their favorite campground and writing up new clues along the way. Then we thought that maybe a less scenic site was better after all, with less likelihood of the box going missing, so here I guess is where it's going to stay camped out!

Find the large pull off at mileage point 86.5 off route 21 between Lowman and Stanley, a couple of hours drive from Boise or Twin Falls. There is a road sign marking this spot as a designated primitive camping area, and a large rock at the northeastern end of the pull off. From the other end of that parking area, take the dirt road south a short distance to a "No Garbage" sign, then turn left and walk to a rock pile blocking the old side road. Look under the northernmost rock of this grouping (left side closest to the parking area), in a south facing natural cave behind a few small stones. Hopefully you will find "just what the doctor ordered"!


125. RI RED HEADING UP CHICKEN-OUT RIDGE Just over a 1/2 mile climb from the beginning of the trail up Idaho's highest peak, Mount Borah - 12,662.

Mt. Borah was one of the focal points of our recent trip to Idaho. We had done most of the other state highpoints (44 "summits", 4 "close approaches") when we were first married, leaving only Idaho and Alaska, so we thought we should at least make an attempt on this one while we were out there. Besides there already was a letterbox a the trailhead, so why not encourage other letterboxers to climb up a little further?

To reach the trailhead, drive about 3.5 miles up the dirt road east off of route 93 about 10 miles north of MacKay, passing the fault zone caused by the 1983 earthquake roughly 3 miles up, and a few campsites very near the dead end trailhead. Head east up the well defined trail through the grasslands until you start reaching the trees in a little valley. Pass a fire ring on the right next to a large Douglas fir tree, then a fire ring on the left, and then a large double fir tree on the left. About 10 steps up from the double trunk fir, find a group of boulders also on the left side of the trail. Under the northwest side of the largest rock, carefully tucked behind 2 small white stones, covered by a larger gray rock and currently draped with a piece of driftwood, the little "RI Red Chicken" quietly awaits visitors. Please repack her in snugly so that she can wait out a few winters until we try to get back there to go further up "Chicken-out Ridge" (it's only about another 3 steep miles with about a mile of elevation gain!).

Hope you enjoy he views on the way back down!


433. Travelers Rest - 200 Years After A quick stop on the way to or from Lolo Pass

I had actually planned to plant this box at the Lewis and Clark Historic State Park called Travelers Rest just west of the junction of routes 93 and 12 in Lolo, MT. However, historic reenactors had taken over the park that day, the surroundings seemed far too open, and I didn't want out-of state visitors to have to pay to see one of the few known spots where Lewis and Clark took time to set up a latrine for their campsite both coming and going on their historic journey of 1805-1806.

So, I decided to plant this box just a mile or two further west at a place more suited to travelers needing a rest 200 years later. Find the eponymous location replete with gas pumps, RV park, cabins, restrooms, country store, gift shop, liquor store, bar and even a casino! Inside, besides coffee and muffins, you can find such things as a stuffed grizzly and a mountain lion! Once you've checked it all out, head out the front door, below the wooden carvings on the upper porch, and go west toward the large green cement planter under the big signs. Tucked under the Northwest corner behind a small piece of wood and a few little stones, find a camo-covered micro-medicine container with a tiny memento. (Beware of the prickly bush in the nearby fence, and please be very discreet in this very public place!)


680. Wanda's Wanda-rings: CDT - The Trail Relocated from CO to the Continental Divide Trail along the ID/MT border!

This box with a wonderful trail stamp carved by lionsmane of NM used to be at the Continental Divide Trail crossing near Willow Creek Pass in Colorado. However, only a couple of people visited over several years, so we decided to move it further north with us to another spot along the CDT west of Yellowstone where hopefully it will get more visitors over the next few years. So now, from West Yellowstone, MT, just drive about 10m west on route 20 to the MT/ID border, and find a large parking lot about a tenth of a mile or so down the gravel road to the south. On the east side of the parking lot is a large wooden Gallatin National Forest/Targhee Pass trailhead sign followed by small wooden CDT logo sign listing the elevation of the pass as 7072’, the trail number as 116 and the distance to Rea’s Pass as 13 miles. The actual CDT cuts in from the left about 35 steps up this short access trail, but you should go about 85 steps from that CDT logo sign to reach a slightly more open area in the forest (this point is about 18 steps past a spruce larger than most immediately trailside right). Now turn left off trail and go 10-12 steps at 345 degrees to a rusty broken old iron stove, then 3 steps further north to a chunk of bark under a small spruce immediately left of a very splintered crumbled rotting log. The box is tucked under bark and a partial stump. Please re-hide the box carefully to keep it safe!

(More extensive info on my backpacking background can be found at Wanda's Wanda-rings)


681. MT Refuge Short stroll near Refuge Point of the dramatic Madison Earthquake

N.B. As many letterboxers probably know by now, after planting well over 500 regular boxes, we have mostly gotten tired of leaving plastic containers out in the natural environment lately, so for the past few years, instead of actual boxes, we sometimes just leave in our wake small stones with stamps glued underneath that we call "travelin' lights". (Don't expect this to be a box!)

This place, where “Nurse Tootie” and others helped survivors through a terrible earthquake and flood experience, seemed awfully familiar to us as we passed through again on our way north to Canada, but we didn’t realize until much later that there was another box nearby that we had found years ago, so our apologies if we planted too close. In any case, to find this little ‘travelin’ light”, drive to Refuge Point on route 287 in southeastern MT between Earthquake visitor center and Ghost Village Road. Follow the trail a short distance to a sign: “The Resort That Floated Away”. Two metal posts ( 1 black, 1 brown ) hold up the sign. Between these angled posts on the ground in front of the small dark metal connector piece is a 2-inch somewhat mountain-shaped stone of similar color trying to discreetly blend in. Stamp the MT mountain on its flat underbelly.


685. Ghost of the Hangman’s Building Drive-by while passing through Montana’s old territorial capital and historic gold mining town

N.B. As many letterboxers probably know by now, after planting well over 500 regular boxes, we have mostly gotten tired of leaving plastic containers out in the natural environment lately, so for the past few years, instead of actual boxes, we sometimes just leave in our wake small stones with stamps glued underneath that we call "travelin' lights". (Don't expect this to be a box!)

While driving through the well-preserved historic town of Virginia City in MT, stop at one of the earliest buildings on the eastern side of town that features Sarah’s Water Utility Office on its west side and a rock shop on its east side. Read about the remarkable Sarah, then look down right to where the western edge of the floor board of the storefront boardwalk meets a small cross plank at the building’s corner. We left this “travelin’ light” ghost on back of a small flat white rock under a little square of wood beneath that corner.


BEFORE YOU SET OUT, PLEASE READ THE WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER..

You can find information about this hobby at Letterboxing North America (LbNA)

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